Wednesday, August 7, 2019

J/Newsletter- August 7th, 2019

J/Sailing News

The Sun Never Sets on J's Sailing Worldwide

The “mother of all” offshore races just took place this past week- the Rolex Fastnet Race. It was a fast one compared to previous editions. The 605.0nm biennial race starts from Cowes, England, goes around Fastnet Rock off southeast Ireland, then back to finish in Plymouth, England. It was a tricky tactical race, with crucial strategic decisions having a huge effect on the outcomes for all boats. The expected solid performance by Dutch J/122 doublehanders came true. Meanwhile, in the middle of the Mediterranean, the Spanish J/80 class continued to enjoy racing after their huge J/80 Worlds in Bilbao. This time it was enjoying more sybaritic pursuits in the beautiful Copa del Rey MAPFRE Regatta in Palma Mallorca, Spain.

Over in America, there was more J/80 class activity, with a strong class sailing three days of sunny, windy conditions in the annual Buzzards Bay Race Weekend, hosted by Beverly YC and New Bedford YC. Joining them were two classes of PHRF classes with J/29s up to J/120s.

In the Pacific Northwest, the Sloop Tavern YC held their annual and very popular doublehanded event, the “Down The Sound Race” in Seattle, WA. Several J/Duets cleaned house in various divisions, collecting lots of silver for owners of a J/92, J/105s, and J/109s.

Fastnet Rock Lighthouse 
Fast Rolex Fastnet Race
(Cowes, England)- The 605.0nm Rolex Fastnet Race, one of the most famous offshore races in the world, saw 340 teams take off from the equally famous Royal Yacht Squadron starting line to begin their epic adventure, fantastic voyage out around the iconic Fastnet Rock Lighthouse.

For all J/Crews, the big decision everyone had been strategizing for days was whether to go inshore or offshore. The debate raged, but very experienced offshore veterans of the race saw it quite clearly and, remarkably, were quite prescient in their forecasting.

Fastnet Race meteorologist Libby Greenhalgh (part of the famous Greenhalgh family that also sails and races the J/92 J'RONIMO) spelled out the options for everyone the afternoon before the start; it turned out she absolutely nailed it. “Over the first night, the crews will have to negotiate a ‘transition zone’ that will see the wind drop before filling in from the southwest. It appears the best option is to go offshore and south (to get to the new gradient pressure first), as always, also dependent on the state of the tide. Faster boats will tend to dig further south towards the Casquets TSS (Transportation Separation Scheme- a ‘no-go’ zone) and will be the most southerly,” continued Greenhalgh. “For everyone else it will be of more rhumb line or just south of the rhumb line route. The good news is that after that scenario unfolds, it becomes straightforward, with a reach across the Celtic Sea to the Fastnet Rock. Heading back to the Scilly Isles, it will be southwesterly or WSWerly winds and in pressure that will vary between 15-25 knots according to the timing.”
The Needles at Fastnet Race start
Even IRC Doublehanded navigator, Henry Bomby, was “spot-on” for the overall race strategy. “I did quite a bit of pre-race analysis and whenever an IRC Three or Four boat does well it is because they just make it through the tidal gate at Portland Bill,” said Bomby. “Normally you are upwind through there, but we’ll be straight line sailing. There appears to be more wind in the south where the transition is also shorter, but then you end up more upwind anyway. So, our route will take us quite close to the Casquets and we’ll be offshore for the transition, then tacking and getting lifted. After the transition, we’ll be fully upwind, pointing at Penzance, but then eventually getting lifted. That will be quite a tricky thing– when you start getting the new breeze filling in. The more west you get, the quicker you’ll get through it, but the chance of sailing extra miles because you overlay is quite high. That will be a critical part of the race. For boats in this size range the crossing of the Celtic Sea will still be a reach but in a more moderate 12-14 knots.”
Sunset in Fastnet Race
In the final analysis, the biggest issue the navigators/ strategists faced was, in fact, the transition zone. Those further south and west faired much better than those north. In fact, the further south and west you got, the greater the gain. The winners were all well south of rhumbline when the WSW’er filled in.

In the IRC 1B division, Nick Angel’s J/121 ROCK LOBSTER managed a 7th in class despite not being one of the more southwesterly boats in their division.  The J/121 excelled in the fast, hard-reaching conditions from Fastnet Rock back to the Scilly Isles, past the TSS zones, and into the finish at Plymouth.
J/133 Pintia sailing Fastnet Race
Not surprisingly, it was the dynamic French duo of Gilles Fournier & Corinne Migraine on their J/133 PINTIA that pulled off a very respectable fourth place in IRC 2A division. Frenchman Yves Grosjean’s J/133 JIVARO took 7th, Englishman Chris Daniel’s J/122E JUNO took eighth, and the French duet of Alain & Marie Catherineau sailed their J/122 LORELEI to ninth place. Notably, the J/133s were the top production cruiser/racers in the most competitive class.
J/122 sailing Fastnet Race
The twin “flying Dutchmen” produced excellent results in IRC 2B division. The two J/122 teams are archrivals, great friends, and are extremely experienced offshore doublehanded racing teams.  The first doublehanded IRC team around Fastnet Rock was the infamous duo of Robin Verhoef & John van der Starre on their J/122E AJETO! They battled on to take second place and add yet more silver to their Fastnet Race trophy collection (having won their class in the past with their J/111!). Finishing close behind them were their friends Chris Revelman & Pascal Bakker on their J/11 JUNIQUE/ RAYMARINE SAILING TEAM, taking fourth place!  For more Rolex Fastnet Race sailing information

J/80 sailing Copa del Rey 
GRUPO GARATU Triumphs @ Copa del Rey
(Palma Mallorca, Spain)- A class win at the famous Copa del Rey MAPFRE, the Mediterranean’s annual summer showcase regatta, can elude even some of sailing’s top teams for many years. Others seem able to impose themselves year on year in their chosen classes. Nevertheless, the 132 boat, 11 division, 38th Copa del Rey MAPFRE closed today with the battles finally settled for the ultra-competitive J/80 one-design class.

Following the recent J/80 World Championship that took place on Spain’s northwest resort in Getxo (Bilbao), the Herbalife J/80 fleet were more than prepared to compete in the 38th Copa del Rey MAPFRE. Coming back to Palma to race were several J/80 World Champions in the gorgeous waters and Bay of Palma.

"The Copa del Rey MAPFRE and the J/80 World Championship are the two big events on our sailing calendar,” explains Iker Almandoz, skipper of GRUPO GARATU. “The J/80 World Championship was tough, but for this event, we are going to make a few modifications that we believe can greatly improve our performance. I will be handing over helm to Eric Brezellec (third in the World Championship with COURRIER ECOLE NAVALE) and I will be tactician on board.” That team turned out to be the winning combination for the regatta.
J/80 sailing off Palma Mallorca, Spain
As defenders of the Copa del Rey MAPFRE title, Marc de Antonio’s crew on BRIBON MOVISTAR were fully aware that a third consecutive victory would be no easy task.

Similarly, José Arqueta’s BIOBIZZ returned to the Mediterranean regatta after a well-earned fifth place in the J/80 World Championship, alongside Ignacio Camino’s SOLINTAL team who were sixth. In short, for such a small fleet, the competition was truly world-class.
J/80 sailing off Palma Mallorca, Spain
After six races, it was Juan Vasquez’s GRUPO GARATU that took the J/80 class win with all podium finishes. In fact, they won with three 1sts and three 2nds for a remarkably dominating win over other J/80 World Champions.  Second was another J/80 World Champions- Marc de Antonio’s BRIBON MOVISTAR with a tally of three 2nds and three 3rds! Remarkable that synchronicity between the top two boats. In a full-on battle for the final spot on the podium were two formidable competitors; Ignacio Camino and Armando Gutierrez’s SOLINTAL and Russia’s Alexei Semenov and Spain’s Toni Cruz on NEW TERRITORIES. In the end, it was SOLITAL’s crew that sealed the deal in the final race.

The 38th Copa del Rey MAPFRE was organized by the Real Club Náutico de Palma and the Real Federación Española de Vela (Spanish Royal Sailing Federation), and was sponsored by MAPFRE.  For more MAPFRE Copa del Rey Regatta sailing information

Down the Sound Race courseJ/Crews Crush Spectacular Down The Sound Race
(Seattle, WA)- One of the most popular offshore races in the Puget Sound summer series is hosted by the infamous and fun-loving members of Sloop Tavern Yacht Club. Their “Down The Sound Race” is a double-handed overnight rally race. The race goes from Seattle up to Gig Harbor on Saturday. Then after overnight festivities, race back on Sunday.

The sailors enjoyed postcard perfect weather conditions all weekend; 80 degrees, blue skies both days, 10 to 15 kts out of the north. It doesn’t get much better for double-handed racing than that!

Tom Kerr had a J/33 named CORVO for years and upgraded to the J/105 two years ago. “I should have done this years ago,” commented Tom after he purchased her and started racing in the Seattle J/105 one-design class.

The downwind run Sunday was so good that the first ten finishers beat the Sloop Tavern RC boat to the finish! As a result, the boat that finished first- the J/120 GREY WOLF- set the line and took people’s finishes down until the committee boat made it!

Double Handed Flying Sails Classes
The J/109 LAPA- owned and skippered by Michael Campbell- took second place in the PHRF Class 2 Double Handed Non-Flying sails division.
J/27 sailing Seattle
In Class 5 Double Handed Flying Sails division, Leo Morales’ J/27 got the bronze.  Meanwhile, their stablemate Ulf George Gwildis’s J/30 IMPULSIVE took fourth just 3 minutes in arrears on corrected time after two days of sailing.

Jessica & John Aguilar-Kazaras’ J/29 RUBY crushed it in Class 6 Double Handed Flying Sails division, winning by over 13 minutes.

Class 7 was the J/80 division.  Winning was Phil Dean’s RUSH, followed by Taylor Joosten’s CRAZY IVAN in second and Richard Demmler’s TASTES LIKE CHICKEN in third position.
J/105 Corvo105 winning Down the Sound Race
The J/105’s swept Class 8 Double Handed Flying Sails.  Winning was Tom Kerr & Serhad’s CORVO 105, followed by Steve Summers’ PUFF in second and Sara Billey’s PEER GYNT in third.

The Hinz/ Butler duo on the J/120 HINZITE pulled off the silver in their Class 9 Doublehanded Flying Sails division, missing the class win by a mere 2 minutes after seven hours of sailing over two days.
J/120 sailing Seattle, WA
Doublehanded Flying Sails Overall
J/Crews took 7 of top 10 overall in the Double Handed Flying Sails division, nearly sweeping the podium. Winning was the Kerr/Serhad duo on the J/105 CORVO 105. Third was the J/120 HINZITE, fourth the J/105 PUFF, fifth the J/105 PEER GYNT, sixth Tad Fairbank’s J/100 SELAH, eighth the J/80 RUSH, and ninth the J/80 CRAZY IVAN! Congratulations to all, fantastic performance!

Jack & Jill Division
There was another prize for the top man/woman “Jack’n’Jill” team for the two 21.667nm races on Saturday and Sunday. Winning was Summers’ J/105 PUFF!  For more Down The Sound Race sailing information

J/80 sailing Buzzards BayFun-Loving Buzzards Bay Race Week
(New Bedford, MA)- The 47th annual Buzzards Bay Regatta was jointly-held by New Bedford YC and Beverly YC for both PHRF handicap racers and one-design classes, including J/80s. The sailors on Buzzards Bay ultimately enjoyed reliable summertime breezes, permitting up to eight races to be held for some classes.

Winning the J/80 class was Dan Cooney’s AMERICAN PRAYER with a scoreline that only included top four finishes; it was Cooney’s best BBR regatta ever. Second was Jack Gierhart’s AEGIR with all top six finishes. Then, third on the podium went to Jason Viseltear’s UPSETTER from New York’s Huguenot YC.

Counting all bullets in PHRF Racing 1 Class was Mark Verville’s J/120 ISURUS from the host club Beverly YC. Taking the bronze was Mark Nannini’s J/120 SALACIA, while Corey Eaves’ J/109 FREEDOM took fourth.

In the PHRF 2 Racing division, again it was Ira Perry’s J/29 SEEFEST that led the J/Crews on the podium, taking the silver medal.  For more Buzzards Bay Regatta sailing information

Regatta & Show Schedules:
Aug 14-16- Surfin’ Safari Regatta- Corpus Christi, TX
Aug 15-18- SAILING Champions League- St. Moritz, Switzerland
Aug 17-24- AUDI Hamilton Race Week- Hamilton Island, Australia
Aug 17- Ida Lewis Distance Race- Newport, RI
Aug 20-24- J/109 North American Championship- South Dartmouth, MA
Aug 20-23- J/111 World Championship- Chicago, IL
Aug 21-25- J/24 USA Nationals- Rochester, NY
Aug 23-25- Irish J/24 Nationals- Lough Erne, Ireland
Aug 23-25- Ted Hood Regatta- Marblehead, MA
Aug 23-25- Verve Inshore Cup- Chicago, IL
Aug 24-26- J/80 U.K. Nationals- Lymington, England
Aug 30- Sep 6- J/70 World Championship- Torquay, Devon, England
Aug 30- The Vineyard Race- Stamford, CT
Sep 4-8- J/105 North American Championship- Marblehead, MA
Sep 12-15- Rolex Big Boat Series- San Francisco, CA

For additional J/Regatta and Event dates in your region, please refer to the on-line J/Sailing Calendar.

J/109s sailing Cowes Race Week 
Cowes Race Week Preview
(Cowes, England)- Cowes Week is one of the United Kingdom’s longest running and most successful sporting events and is a key highlight of the British sporting summer. It has been held in early August every year since 1826, except during the two world wars.

Traditionally, Cowes Week takes place after “Glorious Goodwood” and before the “Glorious Twelfth” (the first day of the grouse shooting season). Over the years, the event has attracted British and foreign royalty, and many famous faces in the sailing world. And, for the first time in years, it is also taking place after the Rolex Fastnet Race.

Slingsby Gin sponsorsThis year, Harrogate-based premium Gin brand- “Slingsby”- partnered as the Official Gin supplier for the regatta and headline sponsor of Ladies Day. On-lookers will should spot a ‘Slingsby Ladies Day’ flag flying proudly on all boats that have female sailors- many of which are women J/Crews!

As has been the tradition of J/Crews for the past few decades since 1979, a large fun-loving contingent of J’s will be participating in Cowes Week festivities all week-long! The largest concentration of J/sailors will be in the two one-design classes- J/70s and J/109s.

J/70s sailing Cowes WeekThe huge thirty-five boat J/70 class is gearing up in their final major regatta before sailing the J/70 World Championship in the “west country” at Royal Torbay Yacht Club in Torquay. Many of the top teams will be working on refining their boatspeed, boat-handling, and tactics during the event.  Those crews are Terence O’Neill’s AQUA J, Tom Ripard’s CALYPSO, Paul Ward’s EAT SLEEP J REPEAT, Fiona Hampshire’s ELIZABETH (a top woman skipper), Martin Dent’s JELVIS, Andrew Barraclough’s JENGA 8, Simon Cavey’s JUST, Jeremy Thorp’s PHAN, Marshall King’s SOAK RACING, Tilly Harrison’s SORCHA J (another top woman helm), and Jack Davies’ YETI.

J/109s sailing Cowes WeekWith seventeen entries, the J/109s will always be a competitive class in any race week.  Cowes happens to bring out strong family crews as well as a few “ringers” that hop on certain boats to help them on “go fast” techniques and, most importantly, classic Solent strategies to overcome the massive currents flowing up and down “the river”.  Top crews include Roger Phillips’ DESIGNSTAR 2, Christopher Sharples & Richard Acland’s JAZZY JELLYFISH, Simon Perry’s JIRAFFE, Arjen van Leeuwen’s Dutch crew on JOULE, John Smart’s JUKEBOX, David Richard’s JUMPING JELLYFISH, Rob Cotterill’s MOJO RISIN, and Nick Southward & John Scott’s Hong Kong crew on WHISKEY JEDI,

In the seventeen-boat IRC 2 Class are a raft-up of leading J/111 teams, such as Chris Jones & Louise Makin’s JOURNEYMAKER II, Tony Mack’s McFLY, Hans Zwijnenburg & Martin Worseling’s SWEENY, Chris Daniel’s J/122E JUNO, Bernard de Smet’s J/122 ZUMEX, Performance Yacht Racing’s J/120 PYR-SUNSET, and K Coster’s J/122 SAILMON.

J/112E sailing Cowes WeekThe seventeen-boat IRC 4 Class includes four of the new J/112E’s- Team Knight Build’s HAPPY DAIZE, David Franks’ LEON, B Huber’s XANABOO, and Marie Claude Heys’ DAVANTI TYRES. Joining them are Stuart Lawrence’s J/120 SCREAM 2 and Alain Bornet’s Dutch team on the J/109 JAI ALAI.

The huge thirty-five boat IRC 5 Class has over a dozen J/Teams participating. Six J/92s are looking forward to quasi-one-design racing, including Andy Knowles & Alan Macleod’s SAMURAI J, the trio Banks, Overstall & Searle on NIGHTJAR, Mark Waddington’s VAGABOND, Rob Salter’s JACKDAW, Brian Malone’s BLUE DIAMOND DODJER, and the famous J’RONIMO sailed by David Greenhalgh and the rest of the Greenhalgh sailing family.  Joining them are two J/97s- the Hunt family’s (Rachel, Robert, & David) JUMBLESAIL2 and Bob & Jon Baker’s JAYWALKER.  Two J/105s are sailing- Richard Kerns’ FLAWLESS J and Professor Roger Williams’ JOS OF HAMBLE.  Finally, James & John Owen’s J/99 JET, Dianne & Dirk Van Beek’s J/88 SABRIEL JR and the Royal Lancer’s Sailing Team’s J/019 AJAX will working hard to get in front of their stablemates.

The smallest J’s are sailing in IRC 7 Class; one is Craig & Emma Dymock’s J/22 LA VIE EN ROSE and the other is Edmund Gatehouse’s J/24 JUPITER.  For more Lendy Cowes Week sailing information

J/70s sailing Harbor Springs, MIJ/70 Corinthian National Championship Preview
(Harbor Springs, MI)- Thirty-nine amateur crews will be sailing the 2019 J/70 Corinthian National Championship in Harbor Springs, MI from August 8th to 11th.  Hosting the regatta will be Little Traverse Yacht Club, fresh off another fun and successful Ugotta Regatta they ran three weeks earlier.

The line-up of teams is pretty impressive for a “corinthian” event, with teams attending from fourteen states from across America- from “sea to shining sea”- from California to Massachusetts and from Minnesota to Florida/ Texas. In addition, there are teams from Canada and Brazil. Sure to be “in the hunt” at the top of the leaderboard should be crews like AMERICAN FLYER (Steve Knoop, Patrick Rice, Richard Martin, & Annie Baumann), AQUAHOLIKS (Martin & Jorgen Johnsson, August & Lindsay Hernandez), B-SQUARED (Bryan & Daniel Cameron, Phil Peterson, & Steve Thomas), BERTEAU GROUP (Sarah & Mark Renz, Matt Clark, & Will Holz), CATAPULT (an all-women’s team comprised of Nicolle Hendrickson, Mary Foster, Wendy Helberg, & Deb Hazelett), JENNIFER (Chris Kostanecki, Matt Sessions, Carlos Robles, & Scott Kozinchik) SISTERSHIP (Peter Vessella, Tracy & Christy Usher, & Mike Bishop), TEA DANCE SNAKE (Peter Bowe, Mike McNamara, Todd Jenner, & Matt Alisch), TRES BURRITOS (the Sellers family- Scott, Hannah, & Merritt, Owen Beckley, & Holt Condon), USA 241 (Dr. Al Poindexter, Blake Caskey, Kevin Orff, & Doug Strebel), and finally WILD CHILD (Henry Filter, Alex Stout, Will Wagner, & Jen Sturmer).  For more J/70 Corinthian National Championship sailing information

J/24 Ragtime sailing J/Fest 
J/Fest New England Preview
(Newport, RI)- The 2019 edition of the J/Fest New England Regatta, hosted by Sail Newport at the fabulous Fort Adams facility, will include a J/PHRF fleet as well as the 2019 East Coast Championships for both the J/80 and J/109 classes.

The eight-boat J/80 fleet has strong teams representing each of the major fleets on the East Coast, from the Chesapeake Bay up to Buzzards Bay and Lake Winnipesaukee. The principal teams include Peter McCarthy’s EAGLE, Peter d’Anjou’s LE TIGRE, Conor Hayes’ MORE GOTOSA, Will & Marie Crump and Thomas Klok’s R80, Bill & Shannon Lockwood’s SHENANIGANS, and Jason Viseltear’s UPSETTER.

Remarkably, the eight-boat J/109 class is loaded with past North American, East Coast, and New England Champions. The J/109 continues to attract competitive, talented family teams from up and down the Eastern seaboard; that is not surprising since the J/109 does a very nice job of being both a family cruiser as well as fun one-design racing boat. Leading crews include Ted Herlihy’s GUT FEELING, Tom Sutton’s LEADING EDGE, Cory Eaves’ FREEDOM, John Sahagian’s PICANTE, Bill Kneller’s VENTO SOLARE, and top woman helm Brooke Mastrorio on her URSA.

The J/PHRF contingent of seven-boats should be an interesting match-up across the spectrum of 23 to 40 feet! At the top end of the scale is Joe Brito’s J/121 INCOGNITO. The J/121 will be working hard to overcome a few fast smaller boats, such as Jeff Johnstone’s J/99 AGENT 99, Chuck Stoddard’s J/105 FALCON 2.0, Kevin Dakan’s J/110 MEMORY, EC Helme’s J/92S SPIRIT, and two J/70s (Brendon Scanlon’s HIGH TENSILE RIGGING and Scott Dinse’s MARGARITAVILLE).  For more J/Fest New England sailing information

J/111s sailing Verve Cup RegattaVerve Offshore Cup Preview
(Chicago, IL)- The third and final “big boat” regatta of the summer sailing season for Lake Michigan sailors will be taking place this weekend off the picturesque Chicago waterfront. After the Chicago NOOD Regatta, the Chicago Mac/ Ugotta Regatta, the Verve Cup Offshore marks the last big event for both ORR Offshore and one-design offshore keelboats.  The Chicago Yacht Club hosts the event off both their facilities on the Chicago downtown waterfront- Belmont Station and the Monroe Street Station.  Sailing are one-design fleets of J/88s, J/105s, J/109s, and J/111s, plus a few J’s in ORR handicap.

Many of the seven J/88s will be using the regatta as part of the training programs leading up to the J/88 North Americans that is being sailed at American Yacht Club in October. Some of those teams include Ben Marden’s BANTER, Tod Patton’s BLONDIE 2, John & Jordan Leahey’s DUTCH, and Andy & Sarah Graff’s EXILE.

J/105s sailing Verve Cup RegattaThe half-dozen boats sailing the J/105 class may seem a little shy on numbers, but it belies the fact that most of the top teams in Chicago are racing. Those crews include Mike Sheppard’s FLYING PIG, Clark Pellet’s SEALARK, Jon Weglarz’s THE ASYLUM, Mike & Kathie Newman’s VALHALLA, Gyt Petkus’ VYTIS, and Judith & Ross McLean’s ESPRIT d’ECOSSE.

Similarly, the nine-boat J/109 class is loaded with talent from across Lake Michigan. Notable crews include Jim Murray’s CALLISTO, Peter Priede’s FULL TILT, Rob Evans’ GOAT RODEO (the Mackinac Race champions), David Gustman’s NORTHSTAR, the quartet on SMEE AGAIN (Miz/ Dreher/ Hatfield/ Neenan), and Jack & Jim Toliver’s VANDA III.

The large and insanely competitive eighteen-boat J/111 class is sailing this weekend as the J/111 Pre-Worlds (the J/111 World Championship is the following week in the same place). Handicapping this fleet would certainly be a “fool’s errand” as so many of the top teams have not had a chance to race against each other all season.  The top non-USA team is Jorg Sigg’s LALLEKONIG from Zurcher Segel Club in Zurich, Switzerland.  The leading USA crews include KASHMIR (Mayer/ Henderson), LUCKY DUBIE (Len Siegal), MOMENTUS (Saedi/ Yousefi), ROWDY (Rich Witzel), SHAMROCK (Jeff Davis), SKELETON KEY (Peter Wagner), SKULL CRACKER (Dan Kitchens), SPACEMAN SPIFF (Rob Ruhlman & family), UTAH (Brad Faber), VELOCITY (Marty Roesch), and WICKED 2.0 (Doug Curtiss).

The sole participant in the eight-boat ORR 3 handicap class is Rick Stage’s J/35 ALPHA PUPPY.  For more Verve Cup Offshore sailing information

J/24s sailing off starting lineGreat Lakes J/24 Championship Preview
(Oswego, NY)- The Oswego YC in upstate New York is hosting the 2019 Great Lakes J/24 Championship for a star-studded fleet of eighteen boats. The sailors are looking forward to sailing on one of the prettiest of the Finger Lakes- Lake Oswego. The region is famous for having extensive summer activities for family’s and friends that have been visiting for generations. Sailing is one of the activities most of the boating and sailing clubs offer, principally for the kids. However, over the years both J/22 and J/24 fleets have evolved, perhaps the most famous being Lake George and the amazing Lake George Club that host the “Changing of the Colors Regatta” every fall.

This time around, the Oswego YC J/24 fleet is looking forward to the Great Lakes J/24 Championship for their first time in the forty-plus years of the J/24 class. Many top teams are sailing, including Travis Odenbach’s HONEYBADGER from Rochester YC, Lee Ann Zaretsky’s LADY MINX from Rochester YC, Aidan Glackin’s MENTAL FLOSS from Lloyd Harbor YC, and Ted Bartlewski’s DRIVERS WANTED from Port Credit YC in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.  For more J/24 Great Lakes Championship sailing information

What friends, alumni, and crew of J/Boats are doing worldwide
* The J/24 SEA BAGS WOMEN”S Sailing Team won the J/24 Class at this year’s Helly Hansen Marblehead NOOD Regatta- a first for their team.  
J/24 Women's Sea Bags Sailing Team at Marblehead NOOD
Here is an account of their adventures and exploits in Marblehead from Hillary Noble (tactician) and Erica Beck Spencer (skipper and ring leader).

In most sports, two teams compete against each other and only one can win. In sailing regattas, only one of many teams can win. Winning in sailing is the goal but it’s rare, especially when we are racing against ten, twenty, and even up to eighty teams at a time. At most big events we find ourselves competing against full time professional sailors.

The Helly Hansen National Offshore One-Design (NOOD) Regatta at Marblehead Race Week presented us with a different outlook. None of the five teams racing in our J/24 class had professional sailors on board. Going into the event we wondered if we could win the whole thing.

The NOOD Regattas are held across the country every year and the Boston Yacht Club hosted the Regatta at Marblehead July 25-28. Our small fleet of J/24s joined 12 other fleets and some 170 teams for intense racing in ocean waters off Marblehead. Three of five J/24s were all-women teams, which is unheard of in most fleets in the country.

Our starting area had four fleets: the Vipers, the J/80s, the Comets and us. The Vipers, a high-performance dinghy went first each race, so we were able to watch to try to see which side of the course was favored. We then would watch the J/80s get off the line, followed by our fleet of J/24s and then Comets. The race committee did a fantastic job spacing out the racing so that we were not on top of each other and got off eight solid races.
J/24 Sea Bags Women's Sailing Team
Wind conditions varied throughout the three days and a current up to 1.5-knots ripped across the course every single race, varying in strength and direction. We watched the lobster buoys to learn as much as we could to use the current to our advantage. Many fleets had trouble crossing the line.

On Sunday, three fleets in a row had the left-most boat hit the pin, and most struggled to cross the line on starboard. At the beginning of the day, the current ran right to left, making layline calls relevant. The key to a successful beat was short tacking the port layline. As the current flooded, speed and time off the line became critical. The starts were the most crucial part of the race, as the fleet was tiny and the competition was tight, getting ahead early made it easier on the crew moral.

On days one and three when the wind was lighter, we found it paid off more to be in pressure than on the lifted tack. When it paid off, gains were made by managing the fleet, and sailing on a header to match the other boats. Trying to stay on the tack pointed directly at the mark (or jibe) also benefited us. Downwind laylines were just as crucial as upwind. Not jibing too early helped defeat the light air and strong current pushing us away from the gate since the course was quite skewed. Coming in with speed and rounding the mark that had most pressure while still sending us in the correct direction kept us ahead and clear of any potential traffic. Even if the port end of the line was favored, it paid to come in further up the line on starboard with speed in order to maintain momentum.
J/24 Sea Bags Women's Sailing Team
By using the current to our advantage and thinking two steps ahead, we were able to establish and maintain our lead. Regular communication throughout the race, and keeping an eye on the compass, whether we were lifted or headed, made a huge difference. We won day one with a second and two bullets. We won day two with a second and two bullets. Day three was our worst day of sailing, but going in with a big lead allowed us to maintain our lead on our competitors and win the regatta.

Our core team has learned a ton sailing together as often as we have. We are more patient and better communicators. It’s easier to set up for success when you know what is possible and what we can and cannot do in close racing quarters. Although it was a very small fleet of boats, the racing was unbelievably close all three days. Appreciation and respect for each other was unflappable during and after every race.

The 2019 Marblehead NOOD Regatta ended for us at the Boston Yacht Club for the awards ceremony, where all J/24 teams were recognized. When we walked forward to receive our first-place trophies, Josh Toso from Shifty gave us the biggest high fives making the moment even more special!
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